Thursday, June 23, 2011

Notes on a local literary festival, part four

(parts one, two, three, five, six, seven, eight, nine)

But who is this Mike Weller? Where is he exactly? And what is the nature of the realit(ies) he lives in? Why does he feel as if he is a character in somebody else's fiction?

Space Opera developed from this ...

A creative writers' group The Scribblers at Studio Beckenham was attracting interest and funding - and from the beginning of 1997 I was able to test reactions through public reading of Space Opera as work in progress and display its graphics content. The Studio Scribblers experience was rewarding through adopting a performance persona of live storyteller to receptive audience. Arts Council of England Lottery-funding of The Scribblers anthology On the Shelf and Off the Wall vol II meant I was able to extract a section of Space Opera for inclusion.

The Making of Slow Fiction
(Home'Baked Books by Michael John Weller, 2010)

Receiving an invitation to participate in a local literary festival - the writer spent days humming and ha'ing whether to agree to take part, or not. Identical response before cautiously looking in on creative writers' group, short bus ride away, fifteen years before - the Beckenham Scribblers.

In 1996 something was in the air in southeast London. The writer was often able to identify 'things in the air' on his doorstep. A peculiar charge of localized preternatural energy perhaps; a combination of several extraordinary coincidences, maybe. Vitalized synchronicity associated within scribbling process of sudden collective realization, definitely. Like Beckenham Arts Lab formation quarter century before.

1969 different time-space; 1997 different time-space again; 2011 different time-space yet again.

Then afterwards, the shaping movement of scribblers into tangible entity, losing bits deemed unnecessary to working model. A group of writers serious about their business emerges. Poetry is composed and read without comment or criticism. Brand names appear in fragments of text. A suggestion even of Scribbler commodification. Essential if product be sold arts market society.

'Beckenham' as place dropped from name. Too local. 'The Scribblers' formed: band of UK writers and poets gigging at Studio Beckenham, introduced like support band before going into individualized solo reader's performance - warm-up acts on southeast London Studio literary nights featuring Adrian Mitchell, John Cooper Clarke, Labi Siffre, Alex King, and the "irrepressible" Mike Weller

'Island of Dreams' from Space Opera, MJ Weller 1997

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